Moto Ride Turned Dangerous at Rebel Army’s Barricade

The story begins…

IMG_20120516_101640.jpg with the guys at Heartline (John McHoul, Asher, “P”, and myself) visiting a small village outside of Port-Au-Prince.  In a few weeks, we will be having a group of dentists come down to Haiti, and we were hoping to bring them to this village.  With all the rain, we weren’t sure if we could make it with our large Canter truck, so we decided to use our motorcycles to check things out and to make arrangements with the village.  Since it is quite a nice ride we invited a few others from Port-Au-Prince Fellowship Church (Pastor John Meadth & Luji) – so in all we had 6 guys.

The visit to the village went great.  Everyone knew John McHoul and ran out to say Hi!  I started talking with a few kids.  Pretty soon there were more kids hanging off of me then I could handle!

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Barricade

We were almost back when we hit the area of Bon Repos (20 minutes away from the Guest House).  At the barricade we saw were a few tires and really not much else. In Haiti, we are familiar with these barricades some of them are merely obstacles, while others can be more dangerous.  Knowing this we stopped a ways off looking to see if vehicles were passing through.  Almost immediately after coming up to the barricade a moto came through and I shouted to him, “Pa ka pase?” (meaning – Can’t pass through?).  He shook his head “no”.  Then two more vehicles came through and we asked the same question.  They said “yes”.

Haiti Barricade in Bon Repos, Haiti

After seeing others go through, we decided to proceed.  John McHoul went first.  I behind him and then the other four behind me.  The first thing I remember as we turned the corner were the unhappy faces of many many guys!  The were probably just a bit older than teenagers.

As we rolled through, a rock was thrown towards John McHoul almost hitting him in his helmet. I thought, This can’t be good.  At this point, what do you do? I am already half way through the barricade. We are starting to get ambushed by all these men! I immediately ducked my head down by my handle bars and gunned it towards the opening on the other side.  John must have done the same as we were the first to reach the other side.  I remember looking back and seeing all the guys surround John Meadth, Asher, Luji and ‘P’.

We stopped at a gas station just a little ways off from the barricades.  John called a friend of his who is on the police force to see if we could get assistance.  Meanwhile, ‘P’ came out of the barricades.  This left three others still inside the barricade – John Meadth, Asher, and Luji .

Inside the barricade

Hit by a Rock from Riot in Haiti Asher was hit with a rock to the chest – not hurt.  John Meadth was hit with a rock to the arm and bleeding.  The guys were a bit manhandled and forced to get off the bikes.  John asked ‘P’ to re-enter the barricade on foot to see if the rebel’s would release the three guys.  ‘P’ & Luji explained to the rebels that we were here helping Haiti and are not involved in this fight.  After the rebels realized this they let the three men and two bikes go.  Unfortunately John’s bike was still nowhere to be found.

Police Station

By then the police showed up and we drove with them over to the near-by police station.  They made a police report explaining the situation.  ‘P’ was still in the compound negotiating to get our third bike back.  After filling everything out, the police said to get ‘P’ out of their as they are planning to attack.

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Side Note: What are they rebelling against?

A very debated subject is whether Haiti should have the army re-instated.  At this time President Martelly has not officially approved of reinstating the army though he is in favor of doing so.  Ex-military and others want Haiti to have an army.  Instead of waiting for the government to take action they have taken over the old abandoned army locations around Port-Au-Prince.  This, unknown to me, was one of those locations.  In the middle of this barricade were men with weapons both on top of the compound walls and just inside the compound.

“In recent weeks, groups of former soldiers who were part of the dismantled Haitian army occupied government buildings and former military headquarters in several parts of the country. They were joined by scores of youths in their 20s and early 30s eager for jobs.” - From: Chicago Times

Resolution!?

Afterwards we left the police station and headed back.

John Meadth had just gotten a few stitches as result of being hit in the arm by a rock thrown by a protester.  Even after having his moto taken John said, “This convinces me even more that I need to be here.”

Asher and I later talked about how important it is that we are starting a men’s ministry at Heartline.  It is these young guys that can change a world for better or worse.  Instead of fighting the police and u.n., let’s fight to bring families back together, let’s serve one another.  It solidifies why we need to be in Haiti.  We are honored to be in Haiti.

“We must be the change we see.” – Mohandas Gandhi

Lost Bike

Yesterday we had a call from the person that had the bike.

The short story: is that $150 dollars later John Meadth’s bike was recovered!

The longer story: The person returning the bike had the following story (as originally written by John McHoul):

He [person that had the bike] is a farmer and has a couple of cows that were being watched after by two friends.  These friends were walking the cows near Rue Nef, The road that goes in the area of Cite Soleil, when they saw two men with one wheeling a moto.  One of the cow watcher guys, spoke to the one of the men who proceeded to punch him in the face messing up his eye.  The second cow watcher ran up yelling and the two guys with the moto dropped it and took off.  They called the guy that we were talking to and he came and got the bike and brought it to his house.  He called a policeman that he knows who told him to just keep the bike.  He said that he was a Christian and that he couldn’t do that.  He went through the bike and found the insurance papers and that is how he got the number to call.  We agreed to follow the guy to his house but didn’t like it as we preferred to do this in a public area.  He said that his house was close to the road.  It wasn’t..  Upon arriving, we saw the moto in the yard and talked a bit and ended up giving him money for his help.  We took the moto and P took it back to John.  The moto was intact and we are now working on another bike ride within the next several days.

Thank you!

It is a pretty long story but I wanted to share with you.  Thanks for all your continued prayers.  We had a couple people that happened to mention they prayed for us this weekend.  That is very encouraging to us!  What a blessing God can put someone on your heart.  I spent some time this morning praying for as many people I could think of and for people reading this post.

Peace begins with a smile.  - Mother Teresa

10 Comments

  1. Phil Johnson's Gravatar Phil Johnson
    May 22, 2012    

    Wow! You really have some interesting, amazing, awesome and scary experiences. Keep being safe.

    • Ryan's Gravatar Ryan
      May 22, 2012    

      I never would have imagined my day would have gone that way. You just never know what will happen in this land of infinite impossibilities! Thankfully God does and he keeps us safe! Blessings to you guys! Loved seeing pictures of the kid! Growing up sooo fast! Miss you guys!

  2. Paul's Gravatar Paul
    May 23, 2012    

    Finally got to read this. Wow! What an adventure you guys are on! So glad to hear that no one was hurt severly and even the moto was returned. We’ll keep lifting you and the guys up as you launch the men’s ministry!

    • Ryan's Gravatar Ryan
      May 23, 2012    

      Thanks Cuz!

  3. John Meadth's Gravatar John Meadth
    May 23, 2012    

    Thanks for the post Ryan – good summary of the events of the day.

    • Ryan's Gravatar Ryan
      May 23, 2012    

      Thanks John!

  4. Katherine Hodges's Gravatar Katherine Hodges
    May 23, 2012    

    Crazy. Does the village happen to be Gressier? I saw Megan Boudreaux saying they are in desperate need of dentists.

  5. Tammy's Gravatar Tammy
    May 25, 2012    

    Oh my Ry Ry!

  6. r Bush's Gravatar r Bush
    May 19, 2013    

    wow, i just read this. Sounds really scary. Bon Repos is right where we have spent most of our time!!!!! This reminds me of an American I know who’s been to Haiti for 30 years, is fluent and knows the country backwards and forwards. Anyway, he headed off on an errand one day on a moto wearing long pants, long sleeves, and a helmet. I asked him why he was wearing so much in the heat? He said, “I don’t want anyone to know I’m a blanc!”

    • Ryan's Gravatar Ryan
      May 20, 2013    

      Thankfully it was really a one-time deal. Since then I have been through the area many times with out issues. It’s a major intersection and the police are good about keeping it open.

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